Reviewed by: Association for Political and Legal Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Students
Primary Theme: Immigration/Migration/Citizenship
Secondary Theme: Human rights
This roundtable explores new perspectives on the anthropology of migration as they intersect with the 2018 conference theme of “Resistance, Resilience, Adaptation.” In this session, three new books on migration provide the foundation for a conversation about theoretical advances in the areas of mobility, violence, precarity, intimacy, abjection, and the lived impact of state enforcement regimes. Through ethnography with both migrants and migrant rights activists in Mexico, Israel, and the United States, these books simultaneously trace the human impact of state and structural forces of violence and migrant exclusion as well as the everyday practices through which migrants and migrant advocates endeavor to create spaces of solidarity, resistance, and welcome. In doing so, each text provides an intimate a story of human dignity and indignity, highlighting the political and legal stakes of ethnographic work. The three forthcoming books to be discussed are: 1) Heide Castañeda’s Borders of Belonging: Struggle and Solidarity in Mixed-Status Immigrant Families; 2) Sarah S. Willen’s Indignity and Indignation: Migrant Lives on Israel’s Margins, and 3) Wendy A. Vogt’s Lives in Transit: Violence and Intimacy on the Migrant Journey. Authors will discuss their new works in conversation with leading migration scholars who bring expertise from North America, Europe, and the Middle East and whose own work similarly involves historically-situated analyses rooted in deep ethnographic engagement across many years. Through comparative conversation about migrant lifeworlds in these three distinct contexts -- and in three new ethnographic texts -- this roundtable will advance understanding of both the lived realities of migration in the contemporary world, the legal and political stakes of their experience, and the ways in which anthropology is uniquely suited to apprehend and write about them.